welcome to nhk world "newsline." i'm gene otani in tokyo. here's a look at some of the stories we're following this hour. south korean officials say five rockets were fired from north korea into the sea ahead of a joint u.s. south korea military exercise. u.n. observers say the death toll in ukraine has doubled in two weeks as they wait for aid caught up in the dispute. and protecting intellectual property. authorities in china are punishing firms that copy other people's ideas.
analysts with the south korean military say rockets fired from north korea are flying longer each time they're launched. they say five rockets launched on thursday flew as far as 220 kilometers. a spokesperson for south korea's joint chiefs of staff said the north fired the projectiles from wonsan. they flew towards the sea of japan. north korea has test fired rockets in march, june and july. rockets with a range of 220 kilometers can hit seoul and central parts of south korea. military analysts say the artillery could become a serious threat for south korea and the u.s. forces stationed there. they say it is hard to detect launch preparations of rockets making it difficult to intercept them. the two countries plan to start a joint military exercise next week. pyongyang reiterated its call for seoul to cancel the exercise.
north korea state news agency published a statement from the committee for the peaceful reunification of korea. it said the improvement of relations between the two koreas would be impossible with the presence of the u.s. in the south. it also said failure to cancel the joint drill could push the two sides to the brink of war. and urged seoul to show sincerity toward improving relations. u.n. officials say the number of people who have died in the conflict in eastern ukraine has nearly doubled over the past two weeks. government forces have intensified their operations to end an uprising by pro-russian separatists. residents caught up in the fighting are desperate for help. but a russian bid to send them aid has stalled. nhk world's craig dale joins us with more details. >> reporter: as the confusion over that aid delivery hangs in the air, officials with the u.n. human rights agency say one thing is clear, this conflict has become much more deadly over the past couple of weeks. they reported earlier that more
than 1100 people had died from when the uprising began in mid-april until july 26th. their new count is updated to this past sunday. they say more than 2,000 people have been killed. ukrainian soldiers, pro-russian separatists and civilians. but the u.n. officials call those, quote, very conservative estimates because they say they have limited access to information. ukrainian forces ramped up their offensive in recent weeks and taken back more territory from the separatists. they have effectively have the rebels covered in two cities, donetsk and luhansk. and they keep firing on separatist positions. residents are dealing with the fallout. no water, no power in some places and food supplies that are dwindling. that's why russian leaders say they want to send this convoy to eastern ukraine. they say they packed more than 250 trucks with aid supplies reportedly around 2,000 tons worth. the convoy left a location outside moscow earlier this week and headed south to the town of voronezh. but that's where it stalled for more than a day.
although russian media say the trucks are on the move again. one scenario would see the convoy head into ukraine via a crossing near kharkiv, but that may change, so right now no one knows where the aid could end up. the bottom line here is that the ukrainians said they won't let this convoy in unless it goes through a government controlled crossing, not one in separatist hands. then they say they want staff with the international red cross to check the aid and take charge of it. ukrainian leaders discussed concerns they will use the convoy to send weapons and other supplies to the separatists or as a way of sparking a standoff that would allow them to launch an invasion. they say any deliveries lacking the mandate of the red cross will be taken as aggressive forces and met with an adequate response. everyone agrees though that the humanitarian situation is deteriorating in eastern ukraine. red cross representatives call it rather dire. some are looking ahead to winter and worrying that things will get worse once the cold comes. european officials have echoed that concern.
>> we have seen it time and again in humanitarian crisis that when weather comes on top of the conflict, then, of course, very weakened population is easy prey to winter conditions. >> reporter: ukrainian leaders say they're sending their own aid to liberated territories. that wouldn't include donetsk and luhansk. still they remain wary of any russian help given they blame their neighbor for fuelling this conflict. the prime minister says it would be better for the russians to send trucks to, quote, take their bandits back. >> nhk world's craig dale. japanese government officials are considering how to handle relations with russia. they're assessing ties after russian forces started exercises on islands claimed by japan. more than 1,000 personnel started drills on tuesday on etorofu and kunashiri, they're
two of four russian held islands claimed by japan. they're called the northern territories. the japanese government maintains they're inherent part of japan's territory. it says they were illegally occupied after world war ii. u.s. officials have lent their support. state department spokesperson marie harf says the united states recognizes japanese sovereignty over the islands. japanese prime minister shinzo abe said the drills are unacceptable and government officials launched a strong protest. abe has been building a personal relationship with russian president vladimir putin. putin is scheduled to visit japan in the autumn, but some government officials believe the trip will have to be postponed. others believe they would work on improving ties or they should work on improving ties. earlier this month japan and other group of seven countries imposed additional sanctions on russia over the situation in ukraine. in response senior officials in moscow postponed talks with their japanese counterparts,
scheduled for later this month. russian officials have reacted sharply to japan's protest. the foreign ministry spokesperson says the islands legally belong to russia and russians can decide where to hold their own military drills. the spokesperson said the drills are routine and not aimed at japan, so the country has nothing to worry about. palestinian and israeli negotiators have seen the latest 72-hour cease-fire in the gaza strip wind down. representatives of hamas want to extend the truce. but the two sides appear to be fighting again. palestinian negotiators say hamas delegates agreed to extend the cease-fire for another five days. israeli officials have not responded. the two sides have been holding indirect talks in cairo. egyptian mediators have been shuttling between them.
the hamas delegates have been demanding the israelis lift their economic blockade of gaza. the latest truce was almost over when several rockets were fired from inside gaza. people in the region say israeli forces retaliated with air strikes. they launched an offensive last month to try to stop attacks on israeli towns. more than 1900 palestinians and over 60 israelis, most of them soldiers, have been killed. the man who's led iraq for the last eight years finds himself with fewer and fewer friends. nuri al maliki supporters in the shia establishment and the u.s. are abandoning him. but he's refusing to let go of power. iraq's prime minister named a new prime minister on monday. haider al abadi has been serving as deputy speaker of parliament. now he's begun discussions on forming a new cabinet. maliki says abadi's nomination
is meaningless. he went on television saying he would not step down until a court decides whether the changes are constitutional. his critics say maliki favored shias and fueled divisions with sunnis. on wednesday, militants staged a number of car bombings in baghdad, a day after a bomb went off near the home of one of abadi's relatives. security authorities say that that attack was politically motivated. critics have also accused maliki of driving an insurgency. sunni militants captured a number of cities in a push across northern iraq. now they're locked in a fight with kurdish troops backed by the u.s. french president francois hollande says the kurds are facing a catastrophic situation. he's announced plans to provide weapons to the fighters. he released a statement promising to supply arms to the kurdish leadership, but did not go into detail about the quantity or kind of weapons his
government would deliver. hollande positioned himself alongside u.s. leaders. they started air strikes last week against the militants in northern iraq. the french have also pushed other members of the european union to do more. eu foreign ministers will hold an emergency meeting on friday to coordinate their approach. u.s. special forces have been looking at how to help members of a religious minority trapped in the mountains of northern iraq. the yazidis fled attacks by sunni militants and are cut off from food or water. but pentagon officials now say the situation isn't as bad as they feared. defense department press secretary john kirby said there aren't as many yazidis in the mountains as they thought. he said a rescue mission is now less likely. but he said the u.s. military will continue to provide humanitarian assistance. kirby said a team of about 20 personnel assessed the situation on the mountain. they are among about 130 u.s.
military advisers now in iraq. u.s. government officials and their european allies say they're concerned about the people of libya. they say residents are experiencing escalating violence and they're repeating calls for a cease-fire. the u.s. state department issued a joint statement with the governments of france, germany, italy and britain. it says they're deeply concerned about shortages and medical supplies and the displacement of thousands of families. it says attacks against civilians may amount to breaches of international humanitarian law. the statement urges those involved in the violence to lay down their weapons and begin political dialogue. libya's government has been unable to control fighting between rival militias. security in the country has deteriorated since 2011 with the fall of moammar al gadhafi's regime. japanese defense authorities
moved closer to relocating a controversial u.s. air base in southern japan. they have ignored protests and have begun placing buoys off the coast of okinawa. they're marking the area where the bases will be built. thousands of people live around futenma air station, the city of ginowan. japanese and u.s. government officials agreed in 1996 to move the base. they're planning to build a new facility in an area called henoko. crews have started laying buoys offshore. defense officials plan to start drilling soon to survey the ocean floor. then they'll push earth into the water to build the base. ten years ago demonstrators forced defense officials to cancel a similar survey. so last month government officials designated the waters off henoko a restricted area, but demonstrators returned to the area in boats and canoes to protest.
managers at companies across japan are beginning to reinvest their businesses. in june, machinery orders rose for the first time in three months but overall figures for the april to june quarter show a steep drop. officials at the cabinet office said major machinery makers received orders worth about $7.3 billion in june. that's an increase of about 9% from may. the figures exclude the volatile power and ship building sectors. orders between april and june were down more than 10% from the previous three months. it was the first drop in five quarters. officials say machinery orders are experiencing ups and downs. that's a downgrade of their previous assessment. they said the decline was mostly due to poor performance by manufacturers. orders in the sector dropped 8.5% on weak demand for chip making equipment. market players in tokyo weren't impressed with the machinery orders data as the
figures came in below expectations. but investors kept on buying japanese equities because they expect japan's public pension funds will allocate more money to the market. the nikkei average climbed 0.66% to 15,314, the fourth straight gain helped the index to reach a one-week closing high. trading volume was thin, though. many participants including domestic institutional investors were away for the traditional midsummer holidays. in the philippines, the main benchmark closed above the key 7,000 level for first time in 15 months. upbeat earnings from some major local firms lifted overall sentiment. also positive earnings news pushed up stocks in australia. the bellwether index finished 0.61% higher at 5,548. the share price of the country's largest telecom provider received a boost from solid earnings. seoul's kospi edged up to 2,063.
the bank of korea decided to cut the key interest rate by a quarter percentage point to 2.25%. it was first rate cut since may 2013. the move was expected by many economists, traders showed a muted reaction. officials from japan and the u.s. have ended their talks on auto trade issues. they failed to narrow their differences. but both sides will have discussions next month. the negotiations are in parallel with those for free trade deal under the trans-pacific partnership. in a two-day meeting in tokyo, the u.s. negotiators urged their japanese counterparts to revise vehicle safety standards and fuel efficiency requirements. another focus was the conditions in which the u.s. could raise tariffs as a temporary measure. that's if imports of japanese cars surge. the aim is to protect the u.s. auto industry.
>> translator: we have deepened our understanding on the issues. but no major progress has been made. >> the delegates plan to meet in september where they hope to find some common ground. meanwhile, on agricultural issues japanese and u.s. negotiators are also scheduled to meet next month. one of asia's largest food shows kicked off in hong kong and 252 japanese firms and organizations are taking part. more than 1100 exhibitors from 26 countries or regions are participating. the trade show runs for five days. a range of food products from around the world is being introduced. japanese suppliers met local importers and other businesses. they're offering samples of their specialty products such as lettuce from kyoto and sake. >> translator: as a hong kong
buy, i want the japanese government to organize a venue with producers. it is difficult to contact them directly without going through intermediate firms. >> hong kong is the largest importer of japanese food products with more than 20% share. the japanese food products are facing challenges in the market and the hong kong government has been restricting food imports from certain areas of japan since the 2011 disaster. and competition is tough with cheaper products from south korea and taiwan. here's more of the latest market figures.
manufacturers in china have long been accused of copying foreign goods from expensive watches to fine wines. but the authorities are starting to crack down on people who steal ideas as well. nhk world reports. >> reporter: the hospital has been scaring people in the china city of hangzhou since it opened in june. but the haunted house bears more than a passing resemblance to one in a neighboring country. japan's highland amusement park opened its emergency general hospital in 2003 and the similarity doesn't stop at their names.
both are designed to have people walk through a dark hospital. the japanese amusement park asked a chinese local authority to investigate the legality of the haunted house. they say the investigators found the chinese didn't have a license to run their facility. the firm also posted false statements on its website. their advertising also claimed they had a guinness world record. the operator told nhk in june it had done nothing wrong. >> translator: we invited a japanese designer to make this house. we didn't use fuji q's name to promote the attraction. >> reporter: the company was
recently fined about $45,000. china is being criticized for allowing copy right infringement by theme parks and animation characters. this theme park had a character resembling snow white in the disney film. a life sized replica of the great sphinx of giza was built and toned down this year after the egyptian authorities complained to the united nations that it violated international regulations. the haunted house is only the tip of a very large iceberg. there are still commercial goods in the facilities in china that seem to fall foul of intellectual property laws, but the punishment handed out in this case suggests authorities are getting serious about the problem. takeshi togawa, nhk world, beijing.
south koreans have given a warm welcome to the pope. pope francis is making his first visit to asia since he became pontiff last year. this is the first papal visit to south korea in 25 years. the president greeted the pope as a crowd of catholics looked on. she expressed the hope that the visit would mark the start of a new era of peace on the korean peninsula. the pope is expected to call for the reconciliation of the two koreas at a mass in seoul and he'll meet with students who survived the ferry disaster in april and the families of the victims. a train has run into a landslide on a mountain in switzerland. then derailed. the accident left several cars hanging down a ravine. 11 people were injured. the train sent off from the resort of st. moritz with 140
people on board. heavy rain has hit the area for days. that triggered a landslide. the train couldn't stop in time and three cars went off the tracks. one slid about ten meters down the slope. then got caught up on trees. police and firefighters used helicopters to rescue passengers trapped inside. >> we felt the bump. and i was afraid that our car would tip too, so i grabbed my son and i said, let's get off. >> the swiss rail system is among the safest in the world, but the accident happened just two days after another in which three people were killed. for more on that and weather around the world, here is our meteorologist. >> days of heavy rain caused landslides over the alpine region including switzerland where a train derailment occurred. we have a very intense and slow moving system at the time. the system has dropped about 135
millimeters of rainfall in western parts of the swiss one on wednesday. over 80 millimeters for the eastern areas as well. now the system has weakened and it is now moving towards the east. right now affecting the northeastern parts. northwestern parts of the balkan peninsula up into the baltic states. it is still packing a lot of energy now because more flooding rains, gusty winds and large hail. the severe weather is caused by two air crashes. one is cooler air across the west and hot air across the east. because of the temperature difference, severe weather is occurring. temperatures over the west cooler than average. 20 degrees in paris as well as london. but if you look at the east, quite hot, kiev at 35 degrees for the high and athens up to 38 for the high on your thursday. now, across the americas, we have a newly formed tropical storm.
this is karina. this one will move away from landmasses. so that's good news. meanwhile, lots of clouds are developing over the intermountain west and parts of the central parts of the plains. and flash floods are occurring in many places including nebraska. we have impressive video. this was the scene in nebraska at the end of last week. floodwaters crashed through the windows of a cafeteria throwing glass everywhere and knocking over tables and chairs. one person is seen running for higher ground. hospital officials say while it was a scary time for patients and staff, no one was in danger during the event. typically every year 1,700 people are are injured due to flash floods in the u.s. and there is a potential for flooding across nebraska and many parts of the intermountain west, down towards northern parts of mexico today. now, across the eastern areas of the u.s., very severe weather is
occurring. we're talking about severe thunderstorms, large hail and a risk of tornadoes in parts of eastern canada and the new england states. and the same system dropped record rainfall across new york state on wednesday. temperatures are going to be like this, 29 degrees in the u.s. capital. 29 also in denver. and comfortable conditions for the northwest, 24 in seattle with rainy weather and 22 in vancouver with partly sunny skies. finally over asia, rain is developing once again for northern parts -- southern parts of the korean peninsula and western parts of japan, very bad news because this area was hit by typhoon halan last week. and that is bracing for the potential for flooding and landslides. rain will move up to the north as we go into friday. temperatures across east asia, 33 degrees with partly sunny skies. going up to 30 degrees in seoul and over 30 degrees in hong kong
takeshi, an a-list celebrity in two completely different ways. world famous film director and brilliant comedian. he keeps his finger on the pulse of art by having fun. takeshi, art beat. takeshi is flipping through a catalog of the artist he will be meeting this time. >> translator: the colors, they are lovely. >> whose work has caught